Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Learning to Pray Amidah, A craft project

This is a project that can be performed by a group of young people to help them better connect to the Amidah. Our B'nai Mitzvah students tried this and I think it worked really well.

We begin our Amidah by taking three steps backwards and then three forwards this can be explained as a way of creating a holy space for prayer. With this project we will create a physical boarder with in which students might focus that prayer.

Although HaShem is everywhere and nothing can contain him whatsoever, it may be difficult to maintain this awareness for any amount of time. This can be compared to one who is completely immersed in water; he or she no longer feels wet. It can be difficult to feel the water at all.

Prepare a large piece of poster board for each student. Cut out the center of the poster board creating a kind of poster board frame or boarder. Using felt pens allow each student to write the words “HaShem open my lips that my mouth might declare your praise” at the top of the frame. After this encourage your students to read through the first four paragraphs of the prayer looking for words or phrases that they feel are important in describing the Creator or their relationship with Him. An example of some words and ideas appearing in the Amidah could be “great,” “mighty,” and “awesome,” also “love” and “resuscitator of the dead.”

Placing your decorated boarders on the floor, have your students stand in the center of their boarder. Taking three steps backwards, they should meditate on the vacuum created in the space they once filled. Encourage the students to imagine G-d’s presence filling that space. Now as they take three steps forward in preparation for the prayer they should be aware that they are standing in G-d’s midst. They should be aware that HaShem will see them and hear their prayers in this special place.

Its my heartfelt hope that after performing this exercise with their paper boarders my students might be better equipped to create holy space wherever they find themselves.


Rob P said...

That gives a great mental picture in saying the Amidah :) Cool stuff

Tim Layne said...

Glad it helps. I think this exercise could be performed with adults by creating boxes on the floor of a room using masking tape.

(that's what SHE said.) said...

Tim, my brother, GREAT idea! I'm the new liturgy teacher for our new b'nai mitzvah program, and I just might try this with the kids! (heck, I want to get my hands on the adults, too. but that'll happen soon enough) todah rabbah, friend!

Tim Layne said...

I thought you might like this one. Thanks sista.